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Latest posts by BobTheGardener

raspberry help

Posted: 15/02/2013 at 02:12

Sounds like raspberry sawfly.  The only control I know is to spray with an insecticide just before the flowers open.  Look for one which mentions the more common gooseberry sawfly in the list of pests it deals with. I don't know of any organic controls, but others here may have ideas, if you don't want to use any chemical sprays.


Posted: 15/02/2013 at 01:57

That sounds like the stuff.  It doesn't contain insecticides, so no problem with wildlife.  I find it works well to keep spider mite under control, especially on things like cucumbers where I wouldn't want to use any chemicals.  It won't eliminate spider mite though - for that you need predator mites (Phytoseiulus.) 

Using charcoal

Posted: 15/02/2013 at 00:25

I remember reading that it's pretty useful stuff when mixed with soil and is/was widely used around the world, especially in ancient times.  Google "charcoal soil conditioner" and "Terra Preta" for some interesting reading.


Posted: 15/02/2013 at 00:17

Do you mean SB plant invigorator, or something else?  The SB stuff is good for fighting spidermite by a kind of barrier action when sprayed on, but doesn't contain any nasty chemicals. 

"desirable" plants that become invasive monsters

Posted: 15/02/2013 at 00:10

Crocosomia, A.Mollis and Kerria Japonica.  I put up with the last one because of the lovely early yellow double flowers and the fact that it grows just fine in total shade, but its' vigorous suckering habit is a nightmare if you let it spead inside the rootball of other shrubs.  Kept in a dark corner it behaves itself.  Don't plant bits of it into a sunny border as I once did, or it acts like some of the spreading bamboos!

Wood ash

Posted: 14/02/2013 at 23:53

Wood ash is alkaline and does contain a few useful nutrients.  Certainly ok on the veggie plot.  The only wood ash I wouldn't use is from burnt treated wood as this will contain copper compounds which are poisonous.  I learnt that the hard way when I burnt a pile of old fencing panels many years ago.  Anything grown on that piece of ground was stunted even several years later and I had to eventually remove and replace the soil at that spot.

Fork Handles

Posted: 14/02/2013 at 19:22

Bunny, I agree - there are so many varieties of potato and, for me, very few that I really like.  If you have room for them, the best thing is to look for a mix where you get a few of several varieties.  After a few seasons, you'll soon find the ones that suit you best.  

Talkback: Waiting for the snow to thaw

Posted: 14/02/2013 at 19:03

There was a drought last spring in many areas.  Hopefully the saturated ground we have at the moment will nullify that if it happens again.  Then we had just about the least sunny summer/autumn on record (lack of sun affects veg more than excess rain.)  If we get a decent summer this year, we could be looking at a very good year in the garden.

Got to think positively!

Planting Ideas

Posted: 14/02/2013 at 18:54

Birds prefer thorny shrubs as it gives them protection - Sparrowhawks won't chase them into such bushes in case it damages their all important flight feathers.  Children can be taught to avoid such things and will quickly learn anyway - I'm certain my parents didn't avoid planting things just to avoid us receiving a harmless  little scratch.  Sometimes I think we are too over-protective of the young of the toughest animal on the planet (ie us!)

North Facing

Posted: 10/02/2013 at 23:09

I'm another one with a North-facing back garden and haven't found it particularly difficult to grow anything.  As others have said, parts close to the house will be shaded until later in the year when the Sun is higher in the sky, and Spring-flowering bulbs near the house tend to appear a couple of weeks later than those in the front garden.  If you are planning on having a greenhouse at some point, I'd site that at the far end so that the house doesn't shade it when the Sun is low in the early and late parts of  the year.

Discussions started by BobTheGardener

Anyone for squirrel crumble?

Thieving rodents 
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Last Post: Yesterday at 21:12

Plant ID quizzes

Have fun identifying plants! 
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Last Post: 14/09/2014 at 13:17

Watering dried-out pots

Tip to help to stop water running straight through 
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Last Post: 28/07/2014 at 12:28

Blackfly - ladybirds to the rescue!

Broad bean tip blackfly infestation 
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Last Post: 13/07/2014 at 18:04

Bob's guide to picking soft fruit

Only fto be read by your household's main gardener! 
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Last Post: 05/07/2014 at 18:52

Lovely surprise

I went down the garden in the gloom.. 
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Last Post: 18/06/2014 at 14:32

Dragonfly/Darter/Mayfly ID?

Flew into the polytunnel for a while 
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Last Post: 01/06/2014 at 21:44

A week of rain = jungle garden!

It's been too wet to really do anything outside.. 
Replies: 16    Views: 832
Last Post: 01/06/2014 at 17:42

Deep Down & Dirty: The Science of soil

Replies: 4    Views: 458
Last Post: 24/04/2014 at 11:30

Check your delphiniums for caterpillars

Look for distorted and damaged leaves near the tips 
Replies: 10    Views: 513
Last Post: 22/04/2014 at 10:58

Seed grown Wisteria finally in flower - Hooray!

Planted many years ago 
Replies: 3    Views: 267
Last Post: 15/04/2014 at 12:39


Polytunnel growing 
Replies: 16    Views: 570
Last Post: 16/04/2014 at 19:05

First day of (meteorological) Spring

How id your garden looking 
Replies: 13    Views: 592
Last Post: 03/03/2014 at 20:31

DIY heated propagator

Making one from scratch 
Replies: 48    Views: 4662
Last Post: 30/06/2014 at 19:57

Cost of bird food

bulk vs supermarket 
Replies: 31    Views: 1837
Last Post: 10/02/2014 at 12:33
1 to 15 of 25 threads